By the numbers: Arizona Cardinals defense without CB Patrick Peterson

Oct 15, 2019, 6:06 AM | Updated: 11:53 am
Patrick Peterson #21 of the Arizona Cardinals prepares to take the field for the NFL game against t...
Patrick Peterson #21 of the Arizona Cardinals prepares to take the field for the NFL game against the Detroit Lions at State Farm Stadium on December 09, 2018 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Jennifer Stewart/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jennifer Stewart/Getty Images)

Through six games of the 2019 NFL season, the Arizona Cardinals are 2-3-1.

Not bad after a 3-13 season that took eight games to accomplish the same amount of wins under a previous rookie head coach and quarterback duo.

Defensively, the most glaring difference this season has been the absence of All-Pro cornerback Patrick Peterson, who is coming off of a six-game suspension for violating the NFL’s performance-enhancing drug policy and will be able to play in the Cardinals’ Week 7 contest against the New York Giants.

After signing six-year veteran cornerback Robert Alford in free agency in February, Arizona looked to have a veteran corps of defensive backs going into the season. But the outlook of the Cardinals’ secondary changed dramatically before the season even started.

Peterson was handed his suspension in May and Alford broke his leg prior to Week 1, which has required rookie cornerback Byron Murphy to have to step up.

But with Peterson now back in the mix, the Cardinals defense — especially the secondary — will undoubtedly improve on its abysmal performance thus far in 2019.

Here’s a look at Arizona’s defense without Peterson through the first six weeks of the season by the numbers:


A defense’s job is to stop the opposing team from scoring. The Cardinals have failed to do that this year.

Arizona has allowed a total of 171 points this season for an average of 28.5 per game. Both of those metrics rank as fourth-worst in the NFL. And with the offense only tallying an average of 22.3 points per game, adding to the win column becomes an increasingly difficult task.


In order to score over four touchdowns per game on the Cardinals this year, opposing teams have to move the ball down the field. And that they have done. Arizona’s six opponents thus far in 2019 have combined for 2,484 total yards (second-worst in the NFL) for an average of 414 yards per game, which ranks as the third-worst in the league. Most of that has to do with the Cardinals’ third-worst pass defense, which is allowing 281.2 yards through the air per game.


And with teams having so much success through the air, opposing quarterbacks are reaping the benefits in terms of quarterback rating. Quarterbacks are averaging a stat line of 25-for-32 (71%) for 281.2 yards, 2.67 touchdowns and no interceptions against the Cardinals this season. Those numbers are good enough to result in a 121.8 passer rating (second-worst in the NFL).


Zero. That’s how many interceptions the Cardinals have through six games this season. They are the only team in the NFL that does not have a pick on the year. And with having only been able to muster three fumbles, Arizona has the third-fewest amount of takeaways in the league.


Perhaps the most lopsided statistic is how opposing teams have been scoring on the Cardinals. The team has allowed 16 touchdown passes this season (most in the NFL), while only allowing two rushing touchdowns, which is remarkably tied with the New England Patriots for the second-fewest in the league. Arizona has allowed a total of 19 touchdowns this season, the fifth-most of any team.


Only one team has blitzed more than Arizona this year. But sending pressure doesn’t always result in sacks. Of the Cardinals’ 83 blitzes, only 18.6% have resulted in quarterback pressures (hurries, knockdowns and sacks). That metric ranks as the eighth-worst in the NFL, but the team has managed to accumulate 14 sacks, which is tied for the 14th-most in the league. And with a young secondary being left shorthanded to defend pass-catchers 35.2% of the time, Peterson’s ability to put wide receivers on an island will certainly aid the Cardinals’ defensive woes this season.

Life Changer Loans

Life Changer Loans

Arizona Cardinals

Arizona Cardinals quarterback Trace McSorley throws a pass during the NFL football team's training ...
Kevin Zimmerman

Chip on shoulder, Cardinals QB Trace McSorley can use Friday to impress

Trace McSorley will start with both Kyler Murray and Colt McCoy sidelined on Friday against the Cincinnati Bengals.
14 hours ago
Follow @KellanOlson...
Kellan Olson

Kyler Murray signs extension with Bidwill in latest ‘Cardinals Flight Plan’

The latest episode of "Cardinals Flight Plan" released on Wednesday and profiled a few of the biggest stories in the last few weeks.
2 days ago
Tight end Stephen Anderson #89 of the Arizona Cardinals participants in a team training camp at Sta...
Tyler Drake

Cardinals notebook: TE Stephen Anderson leaning on his versatility

The Arizona Cardinals' tight ends room is about as stacked as it's ever been. So where does that leave a guy like Stephen Anderson?
14 hours ago
Arizona Cardinals DL Manny Jones runs through drills during OTAs on Monday, May 23, 2022, in Tempe....
Tyler Drake

Is that K1? Manny Jones stole Cardinals’ rookie show with Kyler Murray skit

Cardinals DL Manny Jones' impression of Kyler Murray for the rookie talent show on Tuesday had the team doubled over in laughter.
2 days ago
Zaven Collins #25 of the Arizona Cardinals warms up prior to the game against the Cleveland Browns ...
Jake Anderson

Zaven Collins fine-tuning his craft in Year 2 with Arizona Cardinals

Arizona Cardinals second-year pro Zaven Collins is still learning the finer details of playing inside linebacker in the NFL.
2 days ago
Arizona Cardinals CB Marco Wilson runs through drills during training camp on Wednesday, Aug. 10, 2...
Tyler Drake

Trio of potential Cardinals starters expected to get some run vs. Bengals

Dennis Gardeck, Marco Wilson and Zaven Collins will all see their fair share of preseason reps against the Bengals on Friday.
2 days ago
By the numbers: Arizona Cardinals defense without CB Patrick Peterson